Monthly Archives: January 2012

Full Power Smoothie

Full Power!

I can’t imagine the thousands of busy London types this has fuelled over the years.  It must be the ultimate energy smoothie, a real city favourite.  Keep your pansy red bull, this is the real-deal energy drink.

I learnt this recipe whilst working for Leon http://www.leonrestaurants.co.uk/, a great little healthy restaurant chain in London.  I will be borrowing a few of their recipes, they are very nice people, I hope they won’t mind (or sue me).

This is the basic one, a real thicky.  You can add compotes, nuts, other fruits etc……..its always amazing.

It’s another quick and easy staple and well worth the washing up:

Makes on big glass, can easily be made vegan.

The Bits

One banana, handful of oats, teaspoon of honey (stringy bark honey if you’re very lucky), 3/4 cup of soya milk (use normal if you like), one big tablespoon of good yoghurt (the stuff with good bacteria in it, soya yog is nice too), a few ice cubes or a splash of water.

Do It

Whack it all in a blend and give it a quick whizz.  I like it chunky. Serve in your finest glass.

We Love It

Loads of energy from the good sugars in the banana and bark honey, good carbs in the oats.   For those mornings when you need to be a rocket.

Foodie Fact

Manuka honey has four times the conductivity of normal honey.  The higher the conductivity the finer the honey.  Honey has a low GI (glycemic index) rate, antioxidants and is cholesterol and fat-free.

Honeybee

Categories: Breakfast, Dairy/ Lactose Free, Gluten-free, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Raw Food, Recipes, Smoothies, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Magic Morning Lemon Water

I have always known that a glass of hot water and lemon is a good idea first thing.  It just feels right (especially after a whiskey the night before).  I thought I’d read into exactly why and was pleasantly surprised.

A glass of hot(ish) water and lemon will stimulate your digestive system, the potassium in lemons will help to give the brain and nervous systems a wake up call.  The vitamin C boosts the immune system and reduces the signs of aging by purging toxins from the blood.  The citric acid, when metabolised, will help lower your bodies acidity.  Most of us are too acidic (in many ways!).

Lemons are high in pectin fibre, which helps fight hunger pangs.  They help to stimulate the liver into producing more bile, which aids digestion, helping against heartburn and indigestion.  Your peeing rate will increase, flushing out more toxins.

The fructose is lemon will give you a gradual sugar kick.  Fructose levels are relatively low in fruit and vegetables and release sugar into the blood slowly (a low glycemic index), so its better than most other sugar***.

Fresh lemon will help to beat chest infections and has been known to help with allergies and asthma.  You will be more chilled, Vitamin C is one of the first things to be depleted by a stressful life.

Most of all, it starts the day of with a zing!  A real citrus wake up call.

As of this very day, I will almost definately, be drinking this every morning (maybe).

Remember – use the lemon peel.  Its bursting with flavour and it’s such a waste to just use the juice.

***However, there is an increased use of high fructose corn syrup in processed foods.  We can end up eating too much fructose, which can be a problem.  Fructose is processed in the liver and avoids the normal appetite stimulators.  This means that we feel like scoffing more and put on weight.  If the liver processes too much frustose it begins to form triglycerides which may lead to heart disease.  Diabetes is another potential concern.

The Hit List

HFCS is found in processed cereals, sweets (candy), soft drinks, ice cream, tinnned fruits, cakes, even some cough syrups.  Thankfully its used less in Europe than the U.S.A, but its still there and ever increasing.  It’s a cheap way for big business to sweeten food.  Stay away from food wrapped in plastic and you are on the right track.      

Categories: Breakfast, Healthy Living, Infusions, Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Morning ‘Steamers’

My mug

Fresh and clean. These steamers are the perfect way to get the body hydrated and feeling vibrant in the morning and are easier than making a cup of tea.

There must be something in the ether because two friends, Julie and Gwen, have sent me their style of ‘steamer’ through today.  I felt prompted to share.

A steamer is basically an infusion of anything with hot water.  I regularly used ginger, mint, lemon, rosemary (a little), add a little honey if you’re a sweet one.  I would not drink them very hot, let them cool a little, be gentle with your poor old body, especially in the morning.

There is not much to this.

The bits

Your favourite mug that brings you the most happiness.

Choose from:

- A couple of teaspoons of sliced ginger (no need to peel, just wash)

- A nice wedge of lemon (squeezed into water and plopped in)

- A small handful of torn mint leaves.

- A classic.  Teaspoon of honey, squeezed wedge of lemon, teaspoon of sliced ginger.

Or

Julie’s  Steamer

Add one stick of bashed lemongrass

Gwen’s Steamer

Add one stick of peel liquorice root and a small handful of mint leaves.

Do It

Drop in bits and leave to steam for a few minutes.  Then aaaaahhhhhhhenjoy.

We Love It

As Gwen rightly put it, a fresh steamer will beat any tea bag, any day, forever.  Viva steamers!

Foodie Fact

There are many health benefits to drinking warm water when you first rise, especially with a slice of lemon in (see the post ‘Magic Morning Lemon Water’).  Warm water will flush out the kidneys and prepare the stomach for food by stimulate the glands on its walls, helping the bowels move regularly (hoorah!).

Warm water can be used easier by the body,  it’s not such a shock to the system, because it doesn’t need to be warmed up.  Drinking water at mealtimes can dilute gastric juices and slow digestion.  It’s a good idea to drink water half an hour before eating.  Drinking water is different from getting water via food or juice, clear water helps to cleanse the body internally.

The ‘Steamer’ variations are many.  Have a play and let me know of your favourites……star anise, sticks of cinnamon, grapefruit juice etcetcetc……….How do you like yours?

I truly believe that after a good stretch, they are the best way to start the day.

If you like this kind of thing, Gwen has a great vegan and freegan blog, have a wee look:  http://peasandloveblog.blogspot.com/

 

Categories: 'The Good Life', Breakfast, Dairy/ Lactose Free, Gluten-free, Healthy Living, Infusions, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Pumpkin and Almond Tagine

Tagine Market

I love Morocco, the sleepy mountain villages and endless desert sands.  I always made time for the local spice markets, checking out the intoxicating mix of aroma and colour.  I shipped many bags of the stuff back to Spain, running the gauntlet of some very suspicious customs officers and barking Alsatians.  Apparently my bag smelled like a vagrant (must have been the intense cumin?!)

The variety and freshness of these spices make a tagine.  It’s a bit like Guinness and Ireland, something is lost when eaten anywhere outside of its Motherland.

Add fistfuls of dried fruits, olives and ras el hanout and you have a perfect expression of Morocco’s incredible produce.  This is one of those evocative dishes that can sum up the spirit and atmosphere of a diverse country, on one platter, better than a lengthy commentary or travel article.  It’s basically Morocco on a plate.

Having said all of this, due to financial constraints (being a skint traveller), I rarely ate in decent restaurants during my stay there and have had better Moroccan food in London than Marrakech!  My Moroccan diet mainly consisted of triangles of manufactured cheese, handfuls of figs and the ubiquitous flat bread.

However, I was lucky to meet some truly amazing and hospitable folk, who invited me into their homes (the finest place to sample true culture and food worldwide).  I especially remember a chap named Khalid, staying in his family home in Taroundant made me understand the importance and pride attached to the traditional of the tagine.

I met Khalid in a spice market and immediately realised he was the kindest of sorts.  He showed me around the old city for days, but one afternoon he took me, with a big gang of friends and family, to an oasis where we sat under a fig tree and shared a delicious lunch.  We ate straight from the dish, with hunks of bread and greedy hands.  It contained a few spices, vegetables and a whole lot of care and pride.  It was not a tagine strictly speaking, we cooked it in a heavy pan with a good lid, as we do in the B.H.K (we’re tagine-less, hence the generic tagine pot picture), but it’s almost as good.  Only the name changes, its called a ‘Gimb…….’ something or other.  The results are very similar, but you just lose some of the mystique and authenticity.

Tagine is named after the earthenware dish used in the cooking.  The dish is normally cooked slowly and captures all the condensation, making the dish moist.  It’s an easy and healthy way to cook vegetables.

This recipes is slightly more complex than Khalids, and not completely traditional.  It’s another one of my Mum’s favs.  We are lucky here that we have a wonderful organic farm, just over the way, that grows brilliant pumpkins.  Good pumpkin is as important, as the spices.  Use fresh spices and keep all opened spices in a cool place in a tightly sealed container.  Being tagines-less at the moment we opt for a thick bottomed pan or a casserole pot:

Makes one big tagine or pan full, enough for four.  Like all stews, it is better left a while in the fridge to infuse and serve the next day.

The Bits 

Handful of dried apricots (chopped into large chunks), juice of one lemon (add rind finely chopped for more zing), 1 inch root ginger (chopped), 2 tbs tomato puree, 3 cloves garlic (chopped), 2 tsps smoked paprika, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground cumin, 2 cardoman pods (split or bashed), 2 tsps ground cinnamon, 1 small pumpkin (chopped and roasted, skin on), 1 carrot (chopped into chunks and roasted), 1 tin chickpeas (drained), 5 tomato’s skinned and chopped (or a good tin of chopped tomatoes), 1 tbs honey, handful of fresh coriander (chopped), 2 red peppers (roasted and chopped), salt and pepper, handful of unpeeled roasted almonds.
(If we could get hold of some ras el hanout, we may substitute that for all the spices except paprika.  A handful of pitted olives can add an extra tang to the dish.  Especially good when feeding carnivores for a bigger flavour.)
Do It
Start by frying off you pumpkin chunks, carrot and pepper in a pan with olive oil.  Cook quickly, until coloured nicely, then set aside in a covered dish.
Heat the olive oil in a casserole and stir in the lemon juice, tomato puree with the spices.  Season with s/p.
Add chopped tomatoes, pumpkin, carrots and peppers, cover the dish.
Cook over a very gentle heat, stirring occasionally for about 20-30 mins.
Stir in the almonds, apricots, ginger and garlic and cook for another 15 mins.
When the pumpkin is good and soft, add the chick peas giving a good mix.
Cover and cook about 15 mins until everything is tender, then stir in the honey.
The tagine should be checked regularly and water topped up if required.
Serve
With an extra splash of olive oil, the chopped coriander and a generous dollop of creamy yoghurt and a scattering of almonds and seeds.  Accompanied traditionally by a nice warm flat bread or cous cous.  We made it gluten-free and opted for some quinoa.  ‘As you wish, you are free’ as many of my Moroccan friends would say.
We Love It
Moroccans make some of the finest stews, they are so blessed with amazing local ingredients.  As I said, this is really Morocco on a platter and that makes it a glorious thing.  It’s the perfect winter stew, bursting with spice, flavour and bright colours.
Foodie Fact
Pumpkin, and most very orange veggies, are packed with the important anti-oxidant beta-carotene, which is converted by the body into Vitamin A.  It’s also a good source of fibre, Vitamin C, K and E and loads of different minerals.   Even its seeds are packed with goodness, especially omega 3 fatty acids.
The big orange beauty is a member of the cururbitaceae family, making it a relative of the cucumber and can grow to be 25 kgs in weight.

The Djem El Fna, the mad Market Square in Marrakech

Categories: Dairy/ Lactose Free, Dinner, Gluten-free, Lunch, Photography, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rough Oatcakes

Super Oats

Frugal and nice with anything (and on their own).  I’m a purest with the humble oatcake.  I love ‘em with a nice lump of local cheese or even with a little of Janes Mum’s Marmalade, they are versatile and an ever-present in our ‘Oat Cake’ tin.

The Oatcake originated in Scotland, where historically they were the only grain that grew up there on the wild northern part.  Oats are really healthy and I would say that they are a ‘superfood’ for sure.  My Dad used to say that porridge put hairs on your chest, but it didn’t work for me (and thankfully, my sister!).

Of course these crunchy delights can be meddled with, but the toasted oat flavour is enough for me (but sometimes I do add a handful of toasted sunflower seeds).

For people who are looking to eat less gluten.  If you make them thicker and add a tsp of baking soda, bake them for a little longer, you have a substantial substitute to bread.

This is as simple as it gets.  Rough oatcakes are best, so the rougher you are here, the tastier the cake.  It’s basically porridge, flat and baked:

The Bits 

A quantity of medium oats (judge by eye how many you’d like to make, 1 cup will make around 5 nicely sized oatcakes).

In a bowl, add half cold filtered water and half boiling out of the kettle (stir until a thick paste is formed)

A decent swig of olive oil

A nice pinch of nice salt and a good few twists of cracked pepper.

Do It

Traditionally, I believe a heavy skillet was used to make these.  I’ve tried it out and its a lot easier to whack them in the oven (we always try to bake a few things at a time, not to waste all that heat).

Preheat oven to 1800C.

Handle the oatmeal paste like dough, with some spare oats as your flour being used for dusting the surface and the dough.  If done properly, not much should stick to your fingers.  I flip them over a few times on an ‘oated’ plate and fashion a roundish shape with my fingers (for neat ones, use a round cutter), then place them on a lightly oiled tray.  The oatcakes should have a rough look and texture.

Bake for 20 minutes, then turn them and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Leave to cool on a wire tray.

Serve

Anything you fancy.  They are a great substitute for bread, we eat them with soup for example.  But for me, they are the finest accompaniment to a strong flavoured cheese, like a Welsh ‘black bomber’ cheddar or a Stilton (long clawson is the finest).

We Love It

They remind me of my Scottish roots (as does my ginger beard!), I lived in Glasgow for years and have fond memories of persistent drizzle and good whiskey.

Foodie Fact

Oats contain Beta-glucan, which slows the release of carbohydrates into the bloodstream, lowering the chances of any dramatic changes in blood sugar levels.  It’s also packed full of fibre.  Excellent roughage.  Oats hang around in the stomach, making you less hungry, probably leading to losing a little weight.  They also help to ease hyper tension or high blood pressure.  You see.  ‘Superfood’!!!

Categories: Dairy/ Lactose Free, Gluten-free, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Seabuckthorn – The Wonder Berry

Wonderberries

In late 2010 I was walking around the Himalayas, up in Spiti Valley and stumbled upon the little NGO named Ecosphere in Kaza, ran by Ishita.

I have many fond memories of my time up there and Ishita has recently been in touch, reminding me of the amazing jams that they make from the Seabuckthorn berry.

I’d never heard of it before and was please to see that it had some ‘wonder’ food qualities, bags of Vitamin C and E and tastes nice on toast.  It’s not just jam, there is a whole range of products made from this brilliant little berry.

Seabuckthorn has been used for centuries, the Greeks named the bush ‘glittering horse’.  It made good horse feed.  According to legend, seabuckthorn leaves were one of the preferred food of Pegasus.  It was used as a folk medicine throughout the Roman Empire, Mongolia and Russia.  The oil of seabuckthorn was used by the armies of Genghis Khan, apparently making them stronger and more agile.

Considering this, seabuckthorn is surprisingly native to England also. Mainly growing around the South East Coast and found in the slightly less romantic setting of motorway hedges.

Some info. via Ecosphere:

The Seabuckthorn berry (‘Hippophae Rhammonides’), popularly known as the ‘Wonder Berry’ easily fits this category due to its unique composition of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and essential fatty acids usually only found separately from different plants and sources. In the high altitude regions of the Trans-Himalayan belt, nature has endowed Seabuckthorn with properties that are worthy of calling this fruit ‘an ambrosia fit for the gods’. The natives of these regions have utilised the wondrous nutritive properties of this superfruit for centuries and continue to do so till date.

Seabuckthorn is known to contain 10 different vitamins, 24 trace elements/ mineral compounds, 18 amino acids, proteins and many bioactive substances. It is also one of the richest known sources of Vitamin C in the world, containing almost 4-100 times more Vitamin C than lemon. Seabuckthorn is on top of the list for vitamin E, beta carotene and flavonoid content and contains omega 3,6,7 & 9 oils essential to our health and well being.

http://www.spitiecosphere.com/organics_seabuckthorn.htm

Seabuckthorn can also be grown in the U.K.:

http://seabuckthorn.co.uk/

Here is an interetsing article from the forager guy on Hugh Fearnley’s programmes:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/jul/13/how-make-sea-buckthorn-fizz

Seabuckthorn and Champagne.  Why not!  It’s certainly come a long way since Genghis Khan.

Buy the bush in the U.K.:

http://www.hedgesdirect.co.uk/acatalog/sea_buckthorn.html

A view of Spiti Valley, India

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Mum’s Broccoli and Potato Soup

Like this, but soup

Proper winter warmer and so easy.
 
My Mum may be like yours, everything she touches turns tasty.  This soup is an ace in Mum’s repertoire and makes me feel at home wherever I eat it.
 
Makes a nice big pan full.
 
 The Bits
2 onions, chopped, 5 cups vegetable stock (homemade if you’re Mum), 6 potatoes, 2 lge broccoli heads, 1 garlic clove pressed, 2 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste
 
Do It
Combine onions, vegetable broth, potatoes, and broccoli in a large pot.
Cook until vegetables are tender.
Puree mixture until creamy.
Return to pot add lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.
 
Serve
Particularly good with Avocado slices on top or grated cheese if you fancy.
 
We Love It
Because as Jane’s Dad would put it, ‘this is good fuel kid.’
 
Foodie Fact
Broccoli can help to maintain healthy bones, it is rich in indoles and sulforaphane compounds which have Cancer fighting properties.
Abundant in Fibre, Folate, Vitamin- C Vitamin- K. Calcuim, Coenzyme, Q10, Carotenoid and under a microscope looks like a magic green fractal kaleidoscope.
 

A snap of Mum on Christmas morning. Thanks MumX

 
Categories: Cheese, Gluten-free, Lunch, Recipes, Soups, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ensalada de Kami – Coconut and Peanut Salad

Ensalade de Kami

This salad will shine all over the mid January slump.  Peanuts for energy and coconuts to remind you that Pina Coladas do still exist.

It comes straight from Panamanian jungle, via Jane’s lovely friend Kami.  Jane popped over to see Kami for a couple of weeks recently and came back all shiny and radiant, all down to Kami’s raw food and salads.

The fruits aren’t quite as good as Panama in North Wales, but we have continued the trend and I must say that a day started with this salad is a brighter place to be!

Lovely and crunchy, an interesting mix of veggies and fruit, with a smooth peanut and coconut sauce, its tastes amazing and will get your system buzzing first thing.

This is a versatile little number, you can also use it as a conventional salad for lunch or dinner.  We make a job lot in the morning and it keeps us going until late,  sometimes making two days dressing in advance (saves on washing up!).

This is most definitely a Beach House favourite.

Makes two big bowls.

The Bits

We tend to use what we have fruit and veg wise, it can change daily, but here’s an idea.

1 orange, 1 apples, 1 pear, 2 large carrots, 1 stick of celery, chunk of cucumber, bit of exotic fruit as a treat(we used a bit of pineapple today, or papaya, mango etc..) all diced into pleasant shapes of your liking.

For the sauce – 3 tbsp coconut milk, 2 tbsp organic peanut butter, 1 orange, pith off and chopped, 1 apple, 1 large carrot, both chopped, dash of water (to get it going)

Treat version – Sometimes some chopped walnuts, or finely diced dates (not too many).

Do It

Easy as pie…….

Chop up the fruit and veg.

Add all the sauce bits to a blender and pulse up, leave it a little chunky if you like.

Pour over salad and mix in.

Serve

We put it into our finest big bowl and enjoy looking at it all day.  I sometimes add a little muesli and yoghurt, or roasted sunflower seeds add even more crunch and energy.

Makes a great side dish to a slightly exotic main course, Thai or Indian food for example.

We Love It

The odd sweet burst of a date and the all over fresh crunchiness and vitality.

Foodie Fact

We stay clear of bananas with this one, sugary fruit and acidic fruit ferments in your belly, which is bad for people with sensitive stomachs.

In Ayurveda, fruit is meant to be eaten before a meal, never after or with, as it putrifies (nice word) in the stomach.  Sugary fruits also react with cereals, but sometimes, I live dangerously!

Thanks Kami

Categories: Breakfast, Gluten-free, Lunch, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Jane’s Roasted Goats Cheese and Med Veg Lasagna

Phwoarrrr! Nice LasagnaXXXX

Jane created this decadent Lasagna(ish) recipe as a special treat for last nights dinner.  We were celebrating St Dwynwen’s Day (Welsh Valentines Day), 25th January.  See my other blog for more info:

http://leroywatson4.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/lovers-island-and-llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch-wales-8th-september-2011/

Jane is normally busy (juggling two jobs at the minute) but took the time out to whip up this wonder and it was rich and delicious.  It’s like a cross between Moussaka and a classic Lasagna, with lots of luxury twists along the way.

We have used wheat free pasta here, but normal pasta will be just as good.

This was packed full of love, which is just as well, we’ll be munching our way through this for days!

It takes a while to get together and the veg is not exactly local (unless you are lucky enough to be on the Med), but it’s a one off!

Makes one large oven dish full, serves 4 big people.

The Bits

2 aubergines, 2 bell peppers (yellow and orange look good), 1 large courgette, 2 large field mushrooms all roughly chopped into chunks and sprinkled with fresh thyme and rosemary.

2 large red onions and 4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced, 8 medium ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped, a little dried oregano, 2 handfuls of chopped roasted hazelnuts (one for topping, one for the sauce), 2 handfuls of halved olives, 1 handful of fresh basil leaves, 2 handfuls of spinach, 3 tbsp tomato pesto (or 3 tbsp tomato puree), glug of red wine.

1 knob of butter, 1 ounce of plain flour, 1 big lump of good mature cheddar (grated), 1 pint of good creamy milk, 1 tbsp of whole grain mustard.

1 lump of creamy goats cheese (sliced)

1 packet gluten-free lasagna sheets (200g)

Salt (if needed) and pepper.  We don’t add much salt to our food, especially this.  The cheese and pesto will add saltiness.

Do It

Heat the oven to 200 0c.

Toss aubergine, peppers, courgette and mushrooms in olive oil and a good amount of thyme and rosemary, stick in oven on a baking tray, cook until nicely soft and coloured, around 15 minutes.  Cover and set aside.

In a good pan soften the onions and garlic on medium heat for 10 minutes, when nice and sweet and soft, add a glug of red wine, then tomatoes and a few shakes of oregano, heat for further 10 minutes until all broken down nicely.   Season (if needed).  Then add spinach and basil leaves, halved olives, tomato pesto(or tomato puree) and the roasted veggies.  Mix up, the sauce should be nicely thickened.  Cover and simmer.

Then in another smaller pan on lowish heat, melt butter, stir in flower, add milk slowly whilst stirring constantly, until a smooth sauce is formed.  Stir in grated cheddar (keep a bit for the topping) and mustard (I would sneek a little goats cheese in there too), it should have the texture of a ‘thin custard’.  If not add more milk or flour (made into a loose paste).

Then its layering time.  Make sure you ration the sauce well.  In the oven dish, ladle in a layer of veg, cover with random sheets of pasta, then a layer of cheese sauce, more pasta, then repeat with veg first until dish is full, normally twice (or until you run out of sauce!).  So thats veg pasta cheese pasta veg pasta cheese.

On the last layer of cheese sauce, top with liberal slices of goats cheese, a bit of grated cheddar, a sprinkling of roasted hazelnuts and some fresh thyme.

Heat for 40 minutes at 200 0c, check after 20 mins and cover with foil if getting burnt.

Serve

Cut into slabs and get it on a plate.  We had ours with a simple crunchy green salad.  Best eaten beside an open fire.

We Love It

Two cheeses and the occasional crunch of a hazelnut.  There are so many flavours here, it’s a sunshine party in your mouth.  This is a truly unique lasagna/ moussaka!!!  Food with an identity crisis just shows that the experiments are working!  Not one for the faint hearted or calorie conscious.

Foodie Fact

Tomatoes and Peppers contain more vitamin C than Oranges.  Vitamin C is good for maintaining a healthy immune system and keeps tissues healthy.  Great in these winter months.

Pickled Part

We drank a nice Chianti with ours. Full of cherries.  Look for something red, dry(ish) and acidic (cut through the cheese sauce and stand up to the tangy toms).  You can pick up a decent, reasonably priced Chianti on the high street.  As with most good Italian wines, ask for a D.O.C.G, which is basically a sign of quality.  A higher stamp of approval from the Italian wine people.

Mmmmm. Leftovers

Categories: Cheese, Dinner, Recipes, Special Occasion, Vegetarian, Wine and Booze | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Nutrition – IRON

A drop of blood contains millions of red blood cells

IRON

Not enough Popeye in your diet?  Hit the spinach.  Our favourite iron rich compadre.  But spinach is not the only iron rich swinger in town.

A lack of Iron can be a real problem for veggies.  It can make you feel lethargic and a low iron diet can lead to more serious problems further down the line.

Over 90% of Indians are anaemic. With the majority of 1 billion plus Indians being vegetarian, it’s a reminder that a vegetarian diet is not necessarily a healthy one!

Iron helps you to produce haemoglobin which helps red blood cells carry oxegen to the tissues. 20% of women and 3% of men do not have enough iron in them.

Most dietary iron is non-haem iron, harder to digest that the iron in meats.

Know your iron rich veg foods (in descending order):

Most Lentils and Beans

Eggs

Pumpkin, Sunflower and Sesame Seeds

Baked Potato

Broccoli Stalk

Bread, Bran Muffin and Rice

Dried Apricots

Spinach

Wheat germ

Peanuts, Pecans, Walnuts, Pistachios, Almonds and Cashews

 

Categories: Nutrition | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Super Spinach Smoothie

A shot of pure green goodness

This smoothie will kick any day off with a natural sugar hit and good dosing of iron to wake you up and feed your sleepy body.  Sweet and smooth with an iron fix.

It is so simple and quick to make and is Janes favourite morning booster.  You won’t be craving biscuits for elevensies either, the banana will see you through!

The Bits

1 1/2 bananas per person (ideally, I have two because I’m like a sloth in the morning)

2 tbsp coconut milk

One good handful of spinach

A splash of water (to get it all blended nicely)

Need balast?  Add a handful of oats.

Do it

Stick it all in your blender and whizz until smooth.

Serve

Jane eats it from a bowl with a spoon, topped with some finely sliced veggies, celery is nice.  I glug from a glass, which is scrapped out after with a spoon.

We Love It

Its so easy and nutritious and its very green!

Foodie Fact

Spinach is famous as a good source of iron, but surprisingly not as good as much as most beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.  Even a dried apricot has more iron!.

Bananas are packed with natural fruit sugar (frustose), the highest of any fruit by a jungle mile.  This is still relatively low compared to most maufactured sweet foods.  They are great for the digestive system, with lots of fibre and also rich in Vitamin C and Potassium.

Categories: Breakfast, Dairy/ Lactose Free, Gluten-free, Raw Food, Recipes, Smoothies, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Herbal Teas – The B.H.K Award

Fancy a brew

We shall start at the very beginning, before there was even light …..(the mornings are dark up here on the hill)…there was tea.  Our precious tea box.  Bought by my lovely Mum as a housewarming gift and well used throughout the day. These brews and infusions are the life blood of every great bean-bubbler and help to distract me from quaffing too much coffee.

This is an essential survival necessities in this wilderness (and everywhere). Not your traditional British mug (that’s a strong cup of black tea with a dash of milk) which is also amazingly satisfying. We talking now ’bout ‘erbs. ‘Erbal Teas.

Here are some staples that we never run dry of, that keep us full of zing and turgid with hot water and vibrant botanicals.

We’ve whittled the selection down to three heavyweight contenders for the esteemed prize of ‘The B.H.K – Worlds Best Mass Produced Herbal Tea Bag (available in Dimensions Health Food Shop, Bangor, North Wales)’. ***

YOGI TEAS (http://www.yogiproducts.com/products/perfect-tea/)- The largest herbal tea range, at that price. The Classic variety, packed with cinnamon, keeps us warm and full of Yogi love in the mountain gales. Choco is a nice change, they’re all nice really. I’ve never met a Yogi bag I don’t like.

CELESTIAL SEASONINGS (http://www.celestialseasonings.com/) - Seasonings?! We drink their tea by the bucket load. Jane was on a special no sugar diet and the Bengal spice variety is so packed full of carob that we thought we’d died and gone to Wonka heaven. Sweet and spicy. Tension tamer does exactly what is printed on the card, with a lovely minty exotic herb. This American company makes fantastic little boxes of intensely flavoured teas.

TEAPIGS – (http://www.teapigs.co.uk/) - Intense stuff this. One bag is enough for a nearly full red teapot (which is a beast of a pot).  It’s more expensive, so a treat as opposed to an everyday quaffer. We love the Heirba Mate, that keeps us charged up, like a caffeine buzz but without that sense of ‘am I getting a headache’. It feels so healthy to sip. The Liquorice and Peppermint is a real winner though. It goes a lovely shade of vibrant green and is potent stuff. Cool little pyramid bags too.

And the winner is…………..’you may rattle your teaspoons now’…………….

XXXXXXXXXX YOGI TEA XXXXXXXXXX Its called Yogi, its cheap (ish) and always hits the spot. The Classic is, well, a classic and I love the little words of wisdom on each tag (the tag on the bag?! Tea bag tag?!). We also cut the used boxes up to decorate christmas cards and other things (friends you have been warned). A versatile all-rounder.

As well as buying bags, we also like to just throw mint leaves, chopped ginger, maybe a couple of cardoman pods or some rosemary into a big mug of boiling water. If you’re a sweet tooth, make it sweet (honey). Experiment with your own infusions.

Heres and interesting blog I’ve just read about all things tea and spice http://www.steenbergs.co.uk/blog/about-axel-sophies-blog/

*** We will be giving out prized like this regularly, because it makes us feel all-powerful and authoritative, when really we are merely two humble bumpkins who view the world with wild-flower tinted specks.

Categories: Infusions | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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